Jordan Thomas Mursinna

PhD Candidate

History of Science


My work focuses on the history of systematics and classification in the modern life sciences. My dissertation, 'The Short Life of Circular Systematics: Reform and Order in Late Georgian and Early Victorian Britain, 1803-1849,' examines the factionalization of natural systematists along social, intellectual, and political lines in the decades before the advent of evolutionary theory. In it, I trace the careers of reformist members of the Zoological Club of the Linnean Society of London to reveal the interplay of philosophical, interpersonal, and political commitments in the practice of classification.

My previous research has explored the history of state-funded scientific research expeditions, the connections between taxonomic projects and economic development, and the particular dynamics of systematics as a field of debate. I grew up in San Diego, California, where I worked as a research assistant at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography under Dr. Simone Baumann-Pickering, before turning from a prospective career in the life sciences to one in their history.

Research Interests

Natural history since 1750

Classification, systematics, and taxonomy

Ecology and the emergence of systems thinking

Awards

Berkeley-Uppsala Research Fellowship, Uppsala University, 2021-2022

Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award, University of California, Berkeley, 2021

Publications

"The Epistemic Stakes of Shellfish Classification: Disciplinary Disputes in English Natural History, 1803-1843," Journal of the Oxford University History Society, XV, 2021.

Book Reviews

Daniel S. Brooks, James DiFrisco, and William C. Wimsatt, eds. Levels of Organization in the Biological Sciences. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2021. H-Sci-Med-Tech, H-Net Reviews. June, 2022.

Education

B.A., High Honors, University of California, Berkeley, 2015

M.A., University of California, Berkeley, 2020